On the mountaintops it is so easy to declare the goodness of God.
You can shout it at the top of your lungs as you look around at the wonderful place you are at. You can dance and praise God for what He's done, because honestly things are going just how you always dreamed and planned. It is so easy then.
But it's so much harder in the valleys.
The low places where the shadows of the trees loom above you and everything is quiet. Sometimes in those moments you don't even hear God.
And it's hard to praise Him for His goodness and declare it for the world to hear with joy in your heart.
Because not everything is going your way. Not everything is working out the way you planned and purposed for it to work. Not everything is how you dreamed it would be. And it hurts.
The sin in this world causes an ache that is impossible to avoid.
Physical, emotional and spiritual pain rages around us and we are left at the bottom of this valley wondering how we got there and why it had to happen. We look up at the mountaintop and think it is too far away. And maybe we are even bitter towards those who are standing on the mountaintop. Wondering how they got there and everything turned out the way they planned it. Wondering where God is in our situation and how we could possibly praise His goodness now when we feel so empty.
Yet if there's one thing I've learned about the valleys and mountaintops of life, it's that it depends more on your point of view than your location. You could be in the deepest valley of your life and still be seeing it from the point of view of standing on a mountaintop.
We live in a broken world. Bad things are inevitably going to happen. Our hearts are going to break, our lives are going to shatter sometimes and we're going to lose things we love.
But in those moments, how will you react?
Will you stand there, screaming and demanding God to tell you why things couldn't go according to the plan you had? Or will you stand there and know? Know that He is God and His character is good no matter what?
I know it hurts. I know it tears your heart apart sometimes.
I've lost people I loved. I've watched people I love go through serious health issues. I watched my twin sister walk through a painful and fragile surgery that broke my heart. I have felt rejection. I have felt unworthy and not enough. I have had to let go of my dreams. I have had to walk away from my plans and hopes.
Yet I have also seen beauty come from ashes. I have seen my dreams come true. I have seen my books in the hands of readers who loved them. I have seen the people I love be healed from sicknesses. I have seen God do miracles.
And in both these valleys and these mountaintops, I am here to tell you that God is good in both. Because His goodness does not depend on us or what we are going through. His goodness is who He is and He never changes.
"For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob." ~Malachi 3:6
His goodness will never change.
The National Bible Bee was the biggest part of my life for five years, and even now as I continue to be involved as Alumni. Making the Senior Semi-final round and Final round of the Bible Bee was my dream for five years. I dreamt about it and prayed desperately for it. Finals was my dream and I studied really hard. And by the amazing grace of God that still blows me away, He placed me in the top 15 semi-finalists my last year in the Bible Bee, 2015. A gift that I will always treasure.
I was that much closer to Finals.
Then I made a simple, one word error in my recitation onstage during Semi-finals.
I was eliminated.
And with those words I lost the dream I had held in my heart for five years of being a finalist.
Through the tears pouring down my cheeks, I ran into my mom's arms immediately after semi's was over. The first thing I said to her was the same thing that I believe today.
"God is good."
Do you believe that today? No matter the dream that you lost? No matter the heartache you are facing? No matter the pain in your heart? No matter the shadows in the valley?
Will you believe that He is good and because of that you can see the mountaintops from the valley?
Trust Him today, no matter what.
His goodness will never change.